The Syrian Tragedy: Western Foreign Policy and its Useful Idiots

Published on Global, by Adeyinka Makinde, Oct 24, 2016.

Recent media focus on the humanitarian crisis in the Syrian city of Aleppo has revealed the government promoted propagandistic methods of the Western mainstream media, which shorn of context and rich in bias uncritically accepts the narrative presented by politicians and attempts to shape public opinion to suit the needs of a war agenda … //

… A recent article in the Daily Mail written by the historian Dominic Sandbrook entitled, “Putin’s useful idiots: Warped, deluded, ignorant. Corbyn’s support for Russia shames his party and his country”, utilized this angle in attacking Jeremy Corbyn, the opposition party leader in the United Kingdom Parliament, over over his rejection of British foreign secretary, Boris Johnson’s calls for people to demonstrate outside the Russian Embassy in London. Sandbrook, who describes Russian bombardment of the Syrian city of Aleppo as “one of the defining atrocities of our time”, likens the fate of the city to that of Guernica, the Basque town which in 1937 was subjected to heavy and indiscriminate bombing by the Luftwaffe during the Spanish Civil War.

Corbyn’s official spokesman, Seumas Milne’s response to Johnson, that the real tragedy was that Aleppo is “diverting attention” from the true villains in Syria; namely Britain and the United States, drew the ire of Sandbrook who accused Corbyn and Milne of exhibiting a characteristic of the “hard left” which is naturally inclined to anti-American sentiment and that is unabashedly unpatriotic and idealistic to the point of foolhardiness.

But whatever the merits of the criticism meted out against the ideological foibles of the political Left, Sandbrook’s disavowal of Western responsibility for the condition in which Syria is presently in is erroneous. What is more his piece, which is totally devoid of the true context of the Syrian conflict, smacks of being a propaganda-laden piece that is calculated to drum up public support for United States and NATO intervention in a tragedy which was the brainchild of the Western powers and their allies in the Middle East.

It is useful to begin by addressing the origins of the war in Syria. This cannot fail to take into account the unjustified invasion of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq by a coalition of forces led by the United States, a feat which was accomplished with the wholesale connivance and support of Britain. This event and the subsequent occupation created the circumstances for the radicalisation of large elements of the Sunni population. The genesis of what has come to be known as the Islamic State starts in Iraq with Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian jihadist who pledged allegiance to Osama Bin Laden and formed al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), a militia which became a major force in the anti-American insurgency … //

… By abandoning the idea that both Russia and the US-led alliance have jihadist militias as the common enemy in place of one earmarking Russia as the enemy and the obstacle to peace, the West and its mainstream media are effectively inviting a catastrophic collision between two nuclear armed powers. As General Dunford informed the Senate hearing of September 22nd, the imposition of a ‘No Fly Zone’ “will mean war with Russia.”

A war, it may be added, which would arise as a result of the illegal enterprise of arming a largely foreign-imported contingent of mercenaries to overthrow the government of a sovereign state. A war that would happen after consistent illegal violations of Syrian airspace and one for which the United States Congress has not given constitutional authorization.

Jeremy Corbyn proved to be right in his dissent in regard to the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and he is clearly right when he ascribes blame to the United States, Britain and their allies for the Syrian tragedy.

In the final analysis, it is Western journalists with the stances of Dominic Sandbrook who are fulfilling the appellation of ‘useful idiots’.

(full long text).

(Adeyinka Makinde is a writer and law lecturer with an interest in geo-politics who is based in London, England).


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